AKB0048 13 - See You Next Stage

The one week wait for each episode of this was always long, and the time spent watching it always flew by; it was no different for the finale. I actually picked up the show four weeks into its run via recommendation by Pearz. I ended up watching all four episodes in one sitting and never looked back; you never steer me wrong, do you Pearz? Coming into this final episode, I knew there were too many loose ends to be tied, but I still expected it to go out with a bang. For the most part, I was really satisfied with the ending given that the AKB0048 franchise will have more time to tell its tale.

After being routed by the DES forces, Tsubasa was forced to end the concert on Lancastar prematurely; after all, the safety of the girls come first. However, both understudies and successors alike wished continue the concert, and Acchan's guiding voice and light was able to convince Tsubasa to allow them to complete what they started. Even after this episode, we still know nothing concrete about the Center Novae or their disappearances. Here, the clue is that Acchan's voice seems to come from no direction in particular, but shining lights are present. This suggests that Acchan hasn't really disappeared, but merely transcended the normal world into space-time. The power that allows interstellar travel is the Kirara Drive, so maybe Acchan just got stuck in that fourth dimension when the Kirara shone brilliantly on that fateful day on Lancastar.

Hey, it might not have been a duet, but it'll have to pass. Taking us back to episode two, the clashing ideology between Chieri and Nagisa was obvious: Chieri saw the others as rivals, while Nagisa wanted to sing together with everyone. Here in the finale, Chieri moved over to Nagisa's camp, for the present moment at least, because the situation is much bigger than themselves. Competition against each other is an afterthought because the people of Lancastar needed their support, otherwise the entertainment ban would put a vice grip on the planet. Moreover, the issue of Nagisa's lost voice was quickly resolved: she only needed to see that her parents were safe and that her proud mom and tsundere dad were there watching her perform in her debut.

Well, that certainly solves Takamina's dilemma quite well. Ironically, it was because she already decided to let Kanata take over after this concert that she was able protect both the understudies and the concert above all else, and ultimately be chosen by the kirara of succession once again. Something the writers did not decide to touch upon was Yuuko's desire and ambition to be Center Nova. Despite all the grit she showed about not being upstaged by the understudies, she showed none of that in this final episode. Maybe she simply realized that this concert wasn't her time with all that was going on.

I thought it was awesome that both the OP and the ED were used as insert songs. So now each one of these girls have the possibility to be the next Center Nova? All the understudies that performed shone radiantly, which is consistent with the idea that they're all possible candidates to be the next Center Nova. Though for some reason, I felt like they were hinting at Kanata. After seeing the current Takamina's soul resonated with the original's, Tsubasa asked, "What of Kanata?" It immediately transitions to the deep booming voice chanting "Center Nova," whom I assume to be Sensei-sensei, but the issue was dropped as quickly as it was brought up. I guess will probably be one of the main plot points in AKB0048's future project.

Dualium is the other clue about the Center Novae's disappearances as well the mystery behind the kirara. The common thread between Acchan's final performance and the understudies' performance was that they were both on Lancastar. It was on this planet that we saw the spawning of the girls' personal kirara. Though still in trace amounts, it seems Lancastar just so happens to have a more readily available amount of dualium compared to other planets. It also falls in line with Suzuko's seemingly trivial fact about how most 00 members come from mining planets. Perhaps the presence of dualium amplifies the effect of the kirara on the radiance of the soul. This is just pure speculation on my part, but maybe Center Novae that came before Acchan also disappeared on dualium-rich planets. When all the girls were glowing, it looked like Mii-chan was afraid that they might disappear like all the previous Center Novae did. Perhaps they didn't disappear because the radiance was distributed among the understudies, and not concentrated on one Center Nova.

There are still many questions left unanswered, but fear not, more AKB0048 was announced for 2013 post-credits. Hopefully it'll be a full-fledged second season and not a movie or an OVA. Another point of interest that flashed across our screens was "Maeda Atsuko the 14th." This leads us to believe that one of our beloved understudies will succeed and become the next Acchan, and possibly the next Center Nova. It seems that the real life Maeda Atsuko is graduating this August, so maybe there will be a plot point similar to that in the 2013 project. As for the rest, all we can really do is speculate for the next year or so. Even though many loose ends remain untied, I really liked the finale because it was packed with a bunch of awesome moments with the singing, dancing, and fighting space idols that we grew to know and love. This was a show that I looked forward to every Sunday and it certainly leaves a void now that the cour is done. I'm sure we'll all be painstakingly awaiting what is hopefully the second season. See you next stage.